Tops Day Nurseries provides the most eco-sustainable childcare and education in the UK. Being respectful of the environment and acting to reduce, re-use and recycle resources is an important part of the culture and routine for both the children and staff. The Tops family consists of 30 day nurseries across the South Coast in Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire and Devon and cater for children from 3 months to 5 years.
Tops Day Nurseries believe in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible world for all and recognise the importance of educating the children of today in order to influence the way future generations live.
Tops Day Nurseries recently gained global attention for its decision to ban the use of glitter at all 30 nurseries across the south, having become aware that it contributes to the build-up of microplastics in the oceans, harming marine life and the future of the environment. Announcing the move in a blog post on its website, the nursery group said it had stopped using glitter for crafting activities because it didn’t want it to find its way into the sea and be ingested by wildlife.
Following the ban, children and parents from Tops Day Nurseries joined forces with Professor Rick Stafford and students from Bournemouth University’s Marine Biology department to help rid Bournemouth beach of litter.
Professor Rick Stafford, professor of Marine Biology and Conservation at Bournemouth University said: “Plastic pollution of the oceans is a major environmental threat, and a potential human health risk. I fully support the decision by Tops Day Nurseries to ban glitter. It sends a very important message that there is a need to change our behaviour around the use of plastics, and educates both children and parents about the environmental damage that plastic can cause.”
Beach cleans and the “Glitter Ban” are not the only things Tops Day Nurseries’ parents are proud of them for. Among many things the company’s sustainability goal has seen the reduction of single use plastics and a conscientious effort to reduce, reuse and recycle all materials possible. But it is not just the fact Tops Day Nurseries are doing this, adults and children are working together to learn during their day to day experiences and activities when at nursery, helping to ensure the message of sustainability and respect for the environment becomes a habit, a natural part of being responsible for life on our planet.
Tops Day Nurseries has also invested in bamboo toothbrushes for the children to use, supporting their ethos as a green, sustainable company. Millions of plastic toothbrushes end up in landfill every day and this will only get worse with population due to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion in the next few years, so there is now a move away from using plastic unless we need it to last for ever.
Bamboo is the world’s fastest naturally renewing resource which is also inherently anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. The soft bristles are BPA-free, 100% biodegradable and teeth can be cleaned effectively without damaging enamel.
The well-respected family of day nurseries have recently invested in electric vehicles for staff to use in order to produce zero emissions when needing travel at work. These cars are fully electric and have many different benefits when it comes to helping the environment and being sustainable. The biggest benefit of which being that the cars do not emit toxic gases or smoke as they run on a clean energy source.
Nursery colleagues have already made huge improvements to the nursery environments and will be seen wearing lovely pink aprons (that are washed and re-used) rather than the one use plastic aprons they were using, they are not buying straws or balloons or one use plastic cups, cutlery or plates. The nurseries have started to grow their own herbs and vegetables with the children, using water from the water butt, meaning children can sample their home grown produce during snack and meal times and they learn a huge amount of biology at the same time.
The sustainable efforts listed are just some of Tops’ efforts and mark the beginning of journey that will see many more changes to come. To find out more about what Tops Day Nurseries are doing to become more sustainable please see below.